A little-obeyed rule in the municipal code might be reassessed soon, with the aim of bringing more pet owners into compliance with local licensing regulations.
Currently a Naperville ordinance requires pet owners to license their dogs and cats annually, providing proof that they have been vaccinated against rabies as a condition of receiving the clearance — but few of them adhere to the law.
Councilman David Wentz pointed out during this week’s City Council meeting that the requirement calls for payment of $4 per year for licensing animals that have been spayed or neutered, or $8 for those who remain fertile.
Wentz said he discussed it with pet owners at a recent event hosted by Animals Deserving of Proper Treatment.
“I was amazed how few people A. knew about it, and B. even if they knew about it, comply with it,” he said.
In addition, the process is cumbersome for those who do try to obey the rules. A visit to the city’s website brings up a PDF file that must be printed out and completed manually, but cannot be filed online. That setup runs counter to the city’s stated goal of becoming an e-government innovator, he said.
According to Wentz, the city drew in $2,800 in pet licensing fees in 2011, $3,700 in 2012, and $4,688 in 2013.
“This is something that (is required) on an annual basis,” he said, adding that he was reluctant to seek a show of hands on the dais to see how many council members were part of the compliant group. “I think I’m afraid to see what the answer is.”
Instead, Wentz has proposed that the annual requirement be replaced with a one-time registration system. He said he discussed the possibility with Police Chief Bob Marshall, and it appears feasible.
“We’ve researched this with Animal Control, and we have no problem with amending the ordinance to have a one-time registration for domesticated pets, which includes dogs, cats and whatever you have,” Marshall said.
The council agreed to give the idea a closer look at an upcoming meeting.